Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil endorsed dual citizenship for Mongolians and confirmed last week to address citizenship-related problems of Mongolians living abroad through a bill on dual citizenship.
In the past 16 years, more than 4,400 Mongolian children were born abroad, according to the National Registration and Statistical Office. These children should naturally be registered under Mongolian citizenship just like their parents, but majority of them have German or American citizenships as Mongolia doesn’t permit dual citizenship.
At present, there are some 130,000 Mongolians facing citizenship-related problems overseas and every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives ceaseless requests, urging a favorable legal environment for dual citizenship for Mongolians, according to Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil. He explained that this was a matter of Mongolia’s national security and that a new legislation would be formulated to settle this issue.
“Many Mongolians living abroad ask to let them stay under Mongolian citizenship because they want to be able to travel to and back from Mongolia to meet their families and maintain their connection to Mongolia. Dual citizenship is prohibited according to the Mongolian Nationality Law. In the past, the President of Mongolia submitted a draft bill related to this matter. Soon, the Professional Government will complete and submit a draft bill to regulate dual citizenship. This matter will be resolved one way or another,” stressed Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil.
This statement was one of many surprise decisions by the new ruling party, the Mongolian People’s Party. As mentioned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, President Ts.Elbegdorj submitted a draft bill on Mongolian nationality to Parliament earlier this year. Ts.Munkh-Orgil says that approving the bill would immediately kick off a policy to bring back Mongolians living abroad to Mongolia and issue the Khukh Unemlekh (Blue Certificate) for authorizing their permanently stay. However, the President’s Office clarified that the draft bill doesn’t touch on dual citizenship or on providing legal environment for it.
Dual citizenship was a hot topic after the parliamentary election in 2012. Back then, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold expressed a strong opposing view on dual citizenship, saying, “I will never allow Mongolia to become a place where people go back and forth or become a victim of another country’s hidden agenda”.
When prodded further, L.Bold explained, “Geographically, we border with two big nations. Mongolia’s population is small but it has vast resources. Dual citizenship is allowed in large countries like the USA and small countries in Europe, which have similar development, culture, and have several neighboring countries. Mongolia’s current status will never change.”
Experts in this matter hold the same position as L.Bold. They believe that dual citizenship would amplify risks of sudden changes in the demography especially when you consider Mongolia’s meager population of slightly over three million people. For this reason, Mongolia specified in the Constitution to not allow dual citizenship.
Dual citizenship offers certain benefits and privileges, such as the ability to live and work freely in two countries, own property in both, and travel between the countries with relative ease.
Currently, 58 countries allow dual citizenship, including Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Italia, Israel, Spain, Ukraine, Sweden, and Sri Lanka. However, these countries started enforcing a policy to restrict dual citizenship for ensuring national security.
Countries which Allow Dual Citizenship
The following countries allow the acquisition of another citizenship:
On the other hand, 16 countries don’t allow dual citizenship, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Norway, and Kazakhstan. There are two main reasons these countries don’t permit dual or multiple citizenship. Firstly, dual citizens have more disadvantages in terms of legal rights, as they are obliged to obey the laws of both countries. For example, there is a potential risk of double taxation. Secondly, dual citizenship is considered a threat to national security because allowing the freedom to become a multinational billionaire in Mongolia will attract tons of people. Experts explain that the Mongolian nationality could perish in the future if people of various nationalities permanently settle in Mongolia using dual citizenship.
Countries which Do Not Allow Dual Citizenship
The following countries do not allow the acquisition of another citizenship:
The Mongolian government attempted to establish dual citizenship several times before and each time, it was dismissed. This time, it has progressed much further than before and the current government plans to submit a draft bill on dual citizenship in the parliamentary fall session, according to sources close to the issue. Approval of the draft bill is undeniably highly anticipated by Mongolian children and young people. However, is it right to approve something that has a potential to lead to the loss of the Mongolian identity for the sake of some 130,000 Mongolians who no longer live in their home country?